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History

Part 1
Two of the great innovations of the Renaissance in painting were the artist’s ability to depict a more contemporary world, and to create the illusion of a three-dimensional world in a painting. By studying and comparing paintings created in Italy from the fourteenth and the fifteenth centuries, you can see how this innovation developed:

  • Giotto. Lamentation Fresco in the Scrovegni (Arena) Chapel, 130506
  • Masaccio, The Tribute Money, c. 1427
  • Perugino, Christ Giving the Keys to St. Peter, 1481

In a minimum of 2 well-developed paragraphs, identify and describe at least 3 specific details or elements that progressively illustrate the artist’s concern for depicting a more natural world and for creating the illusion of three-dimensional space on the two-dimensional surface of the painting.

Part 2
As we learned this week, art historians analyze a work of art using a specific vocabulary to describe its physical and visual properties, and by interpreting its subject matter, symbolism, and socio-historical context. Select one of the following paintings:

  • Jan Van Eyck, Double Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and His Wife, 1434
  • Petrus Christus, A Goldsmith in His Shop, 1449
  • Hugo van der Goes, Portinari Altarpiece, 1474-76

For your selected painting:

  1. In a paragraph of 4-6 sentences, describe the composition of the painting, including its use of color and light, and the representation of space. Explain why some artistic elements in the painting look realistic to you and some do not look realistic. Discuss whether the figures fit into the space, whether their movements seem believable, whether their clothes fit their bodies properly, and whether there are shadows that make sense.
  2. Read about your selected painting in the course textbook and/or through reliable online resources. In a paragraph of 4-6 sentences, describe the overall subject matter of the painting; the meaning of some of the objects in the painting; and any social, historical, political, and/or religious factors that are important to understanding the painting. Be sure to provide citations for any outside sources you reference in this part of your response.

Respond to both parts of the assignment thoroughly, making sure to use information from the readings and the lectures. All responses should be in complete sentence form, using proper spelling and grammar.

As soon as possible, review and comment on the work of two of your peers. In your comments, consider areas you would suggest for expansion or clarification.

 

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